Burnley 3-0 West Ham
Goals: Ashley Barnes (£6.3m), Chris Wood (£6.2m)
Own Goals: Roberto (£4.4m)
Assists: James Tarkowski (£5.0m), Dwight McNeil (£6.0m), Ashley Westwood (£5.4m)
Bonus Points: Tarkowski x3, A Barnes x2, Nick Pope x2 (£4.7m)
Chris Wood (£6.2m) scored on his immediate return to the Burnley team to further his case for inclusion in Fantasy Premier League teams.
The New Zealand international, owned by just 0.8% worldwide, has now found the back of the net five times in as many top-flight starts. Since Gameweek 6, no forward priced under £7.0m has scored that many.
He could have even added a sixth goal to that as one of his efforts against West Ham was ruled out for offside.
Wood’s recovery was clearly a big factor in Burnley’s return to form as they lost both matches in which he was absent, and offered very little in the way of goal threat too.
Left midfielder Dwight McNeil (£6.0m) was also on form for the Clarets, assisting Wood’s Gameweek 12 goal.
The mid-price option now has three attacking returns in his last four Premier League outings.
“Dwight (McNeil) had a very difficult game last weekend, but he’s bounced out of that with a very good performance today. His resilience will grow for games like last weekend. He was a long way off, but I try to trust people and give them a chance and he’s performed again today. He continues to learn and adapt and part of his development will be having a tough one and seeing if you can go again. I told him this week I’d kick him somewhere if he didn’t start smiling a bit more. I think he’s enjoying his football and that’s the main thing for me.” – Sean Dyche
That said, it might still take a brave Fantasy manager to invest in Wood or McNeil for Burnley’s upcoming schedule.
They travel to face Watford next who, as we reported earlier this weekend, now have three clean sheets in their last five and have shown tremendous defensive improvement under Quique Sanchez Flores.
The Gameweek 14 visit of Crystal Palace to Turf Moor is a little more favourable but the Eagles showed off a solid back-line in their 2-0 defeat to Chelsea on Saturday. After that, it’s Manchester City (home) and Tottenham (away) for Burnley.
It must also be said that, for the second match in a row, West Ham’s defensive assets were incredibly poor and goalkeeper Roberto (£4.4m) was especially to blame.
After errors in the defeat to Newcastle in Gameweek 11, the Spaniard took scathing criticism from the local press as he was arguably at fault for all three of Burnley’s goals.
He set the tone for the afternoon when he elected to punch a McNeil cross away when virtually unchallenged inside the six-yard box.
Roberto then watched a first-half corner loop over his head to James Tarkowski (£5.0m) at the back-post, whose header back across goal fell to Ashley Barnes (£6.3m). The former Brighton and Plymouth Argyle forward had no problems nodding past Roberto, who was simply not following the play quick enough.
Then for the second goal, scored by Wood, it was the goalkeeper who initially gave the ball away when throwing to an unsuspecting Fabian Balbuena (£4.3m). That allowed McNeil to steal in and feed the centre-forward.
Wood’s low-shot was arguably a bit too close to Roberto for his liking, but West Ham’s number 13 failed to get enough purchase on it and deflected it into his own net.
Finally, Burnley’s third effort was a goal entirely of Roberto’s own making. Once again, he elected to punch an incoming cross, this time an Ashley Westwood (£5.4m) corner, unwittingly punching the ball into his own net.
West Ham truly have been struggling in the long-term absence of Lukasz Fabianski (£4.9m), who is not expected back until January.
Roberto may have produced 10 saves at Burnley but his place in the team has to be considered under threat after recent performances – which could open the door for David Martin (£4.0m) to come in for Gameweek 13.
That said, Manuel Pellegrini did his best to protect the goalkeeper at the full-time whistle.
“When players are not in their best moment then, of course, I worry about that. But he has experience, so we will see after that. I don’t want to analyse individual performances. I don’t analyse individual performances. As a team, we lost the game, not individual performances.” – Manuel Pellegrini
If Roberto does keep his place in the coming weeks, and maintains his error-prone form, West Ham may find themselves playing a big part in upcoming transfer decisions.
It must be said that Balbuena and Issa Diop (£4.5m) have also been poor of late, so even a change of goalkeeper might not help Pellegrini’s cause.
Attacking assets from Spurs, Chelsea, Wolves and Arsenal will all receive a boost ahead of meetings with the Hammers between now and Gameweek 16.
By contrast, Burnley’s defence responded to their recent defensive lapse by keeping a fourth clean sheet of the campaign.
“The players knew they had fallen below the mark; they didn’t need telling from me, but we’ve actually been going quite well this season and I’ve enjoyed what we’ve been trying to achieve. You don’t let one performance force you to over-think everything else and today we were right back on it. From the very beginning of the game, the body language and intent was there and everyone was winning their battles all over the pitch.” – Sean Dyche
Across Gameweeks 10 and 11, the Clarets conceded seven goals to Chelsea and Sheffield United, both matches particularly uncharacteristic of a Sean Dyche side.
He responded by making some changes at the back, full-backs Erik Pieters (£4.7m) and Matt Lowton (£4.5m) both dropping to the bench for Charlie Taylor (£4.2m) and Phil Bardsley (£4.3m) to come in on the left and right respectively.
“I made a few changes today and that was tough on the players going out because I have a lot of respect for them. That’s my job and I thought long and hard about that because we have a strong collective here, so when you do make changes you want them, to perform – and they did!” – Sean Dyche
However, whether or not those alterations made the difference and helped keep the clean sheet for Burnley is hard to assess considering how poor West Ham were.
Felipe Anderson (£6.8m) was anonymous and, as expected, so was Pablo Fornals (£6.0m), who has been an incredibly underwhelming signing for the Hammers this season. Andriy Yarmolenko (£6.0m) was named among the substitutes but still had a chance when he replaced an injured Mark Noble (£5.0m) in the 20th minute and offered very little himself.
With West Ham failing to provide any creativity from midfield, Sébastien Haller (£7.3m) was left isolated with very little in the way of service and therefore did not trouble the Burnley goal.
Either way, this is now the fourth time in a row this season that the Clarets have kept out a team outside of last season’s top-six at Turf Moor.
Every time they have hosted one of these sides in 2019/20 they have kept a clean sheet, which bodes well considering Crystal Palace (Gameweek 14) and Newcastle (Gameweek 17) are two of the next three to visit Lancashire.
It was Nick Pope (£4.7m) who proved the real winner from an FPL defensive perspective as he made four saves and picked up two bonus points.
Finally, West Ham were the chief victims of Saturday’s injury quota as they lost two key personnel at Turf Moor.
As already mentioned, Noble was taken off with an ankle problem in the first half before substitute Manuel Lanzini (£6.3m) sustained a serious-looking shoulder injury in the second.
He had to receive extensive treatment on the pitch and was stretchered off receiving oxygen and is very much a doubt for Gameweek 13.
“Mark twisted his ankle. We’ll see how he is. Manu had a problem in his shoulder. We must wait to see what the doctor says to see how long he is out.” – Manuel Pellegrini
Burnley XI (4-4-2): Pope; C Taylor, Mee, Tarkowski, Bardsley; McNeil, Westwood, Cork, Hendrick; A Barnes (Rodriguez 81′), Wood (Brady 90+4′).
West Ham United XI (4-2-3-1): Roberto; Cresswell, Balbuena, Diop, Fredericks; Rice, Noble (Yarmolenko 20′); Anderson (Lanzini 56′), Fornals (Ajeti 64′), Snodgrass; Haller.
GAMEWEEK 12 – FPL MATCH REPORTS
- Norwich City 0-2 Watford
- Chelsea 2-0 Crystal Palace
- Burnley 3-0 West Ham United
- Newcastle United 2-1 Bournemouth
- Southampton 1-2 Everton
- Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Everton
- Leicester City 2-0 Arsenal
- Manchester United 3-1 Brighton and Hove Albion
- Wolves 2-1 Aston Villa
- Liverpool 3-1 Manchester City
Nominated for ‘Best in Fantasy Football – Editorial’ at the Football Content Awards 2020
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